Nov. 2, 2001
by, Brian Betz, writer
The Santa Clara
Both the men's and women's cross-country teams snagged their piece of history Saturday as the women won the West Coast Conference title for a record fifth time, and the men finished out their regular season in second place for a record 11th time.
The women were led by freshman Robin Bell, who finished third in the conference meet and is looking to receive an All-WCC selection and a chance at Freshman of the Year honors. In a gutsy performance, junior Jenny Smokey crossed the line some 20 seconds behind Bell despite some nagging injuries throughout the week. The women locked the 11th, 12th and 13th positions with strong runs from junior Andrea Gastelum, sophomore Milena Basile and freshman Katie Hansen.
"We are extremely proud and excited about Santa Clara's first ever WCC cross-country Championship," women's Head Coach Tom Service said. "The team has worked very hard this year and has performed excellently on each race day. As always, the key to Saturday's win was the depth of the entire team's performance."
On the men's side, senior Thomas Chapman was top runner for the men, finishing fourth at the conference championship.
"We feel pretty good about our performance, this was kind of a warm-up before the West Region Championships," Chapman said. "It is going to be a big adjustment going from our normal 8k and taking on a 10k race."
Not far behind Chapman were sophomores Benjamin Gauen and Ricky Brackett who finished their runs in eighth and 11th, respectively. Rounding out the men's top runners were sophomores Kevin Edwards and Devlin Croal who finished 16th and 17th.
"I am very pleased with the guys' results," men's Head Coach John Maloney said. "We had our seven runners running at or above their best race performances of the season. We hit two team goals at the end of track season. They finished in the top two and had a team time average of 26:45 (we ran 26:42). All the guys have improved on the Crystal Springs course since they entered the program, giving us some separation from some of WCC competition."
"USD and Pepperdine ran very strongly," he said. "Respectively, they ran the second fastest team times to place third and fourth on the 8K Crystal Springs course. It was satisfying to beat these schools that ran well."
The coaching efforts of the two teams were acknowledged on Saturday as Coach Service and Coach Maloney both received WCC Coach of the Year Honors. Service received this award in just his first year with the Broncos. For Maloney this is his second award in two years.
Next up for the Broncos is a date in Tucson, Ariz. where the University of Arizona will host the West Region Championship on Nov. 10th. The NCAA cham pionships are scheduled for Nov. 19, in Greenville, S.C.